Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Damage Control

Our tomatoes look like the walking wounded of a battle field. Owing to the abundance of nitrogen in the compost we used, they have grown out of control, outreaching our heads by several feet. Most people's tomatoes are chest high at this point, and our friend Paul's are wonderfully full and abundant. "I don't pick suckers," he said.

Maybe we need to let the suckers go next year but control the top growth. Some of the current tomato plants are ridiculous: bent over double on themselves. We have tied all of the plants to posts, which are woefully short, and tried to salvage some damage from the fungal infection by chopping off more leaves and letting others die off.

I read that copper would help the fungal situation, but I've not gotten myself over to the guys at Agway for help yet. We worked so hard getting the garden started (well, mostly that was David), so I am not sure what accounts for our current malaise. With tomato harvest rapidly approaching, I hope we don't ruin the season!

More embarrassing was our visit from our neighbor who said the garden was bone dry. I knew that, but I'd heard rain was coming all week, and I wanted to let Mother Nature do her stuff first. "Never listen to the news; just water!" Billy said, and he's right. Our raised beds do a good job draining, so overwatering isn't a problem.

Well, today it rained, and it was a light, long rain, which is the best kind for now. That way the tomatoes won't burst with a deluge.

So. Another issue with the tomatoes is the overabundance of small ones. We have current tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sun sugars, and tumbling toms. All four types are small. We have some monster brandywines, and german pinks (including the bizarre quadruple tomato pictured below [and this is a month-old photo, when it was 4 inches or so]), but very few solid, medium-size tomato-sandwich size fruits. One of our main pleasures is tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches on pumpernickel rye. Cherry tomatoes just won't cut it.
Next year, we've decided, we will plant 6 or 7 standard size tomato plants and then one each of the other, more exotic, varieties.

In happier news, we've eaten wonderful, wonderful yellow pencil pod and royal burgundy bush beans. I wish we had more room for additional plans and varieties. I've given some beans away, just because they are so pretty, but I want more for myself for eating! We've also had more zucchini and squash, pesto from the basil, and herbs. The colors in the garden are spectacular, with bright red peppers and amaranth, and these gorgeous purple eggplants.

The potatoes are still a mystery, and they aren't fun when we pull them up too soon, so I think we'll use that space (which seems wasted now) for more beans next year.


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